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23 Jan 2018

Worldwide Spending on Robotics and Drones Forecast to Reach $103 Billion in 2018, According to New IDC Spending Guide

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., January 23, 2018 – A new update to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Robotics and Drones Spending Guide forecasts worldwide spending on robotics and drones solutions will total $103.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 22.1% over 2017. By 2021, IDC expects this spending will more than double to $218.4 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) or 25.4%.

Robotics spending will reach $94 billion in 2018 and will account for more than 90% of all spending throughout the 2017-2021 forecast. Industrial robotic solutions will account for the largest share of robotics spending (more than 70%), followed by service robots and consumer robots. Discrete and process manufacturing will be the leading industries for robotics spending at more than $60 billion combined in 2018. The resource and healthcare industries will also make significant investments in robotics solutions this year. The retail and wholesale industries will see the fastest robotics spending growth over the forecast with CAGRs of 46.3% and 41.2%, respectively.

"Industrial robots are becoming more intelligent, human-friendly and easier to work with," said Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, research director, Robotics. "This has accelerated their rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry beyond automotive, especially in high-tech manufacturing that requires light-weight robots with higher precision, flexibility, mobility and collaborative capability. Vendors who are not able to meet such demands will see their market position quickly eroded."

"Growth in the service robotics market is being driven by a collision of robotic technology maturity, market readiness, and related technology maturity," said John Santagate, research director, Service Robotics. "Robots did not reach this point overnight; it has been a decades-long effort to bring robots to the point they are today. Over time, innovators have been building upon existing technology and layering new and emerging technology onto robotic devices. We have reached a point now where the mechanics of robots are mature and the addition of artificial intelligence, advanced vision systems, cloud applications, Internet of Things, and continued mechanical innovation has enabled safe, collaborative robots that are working with people rather than replacing people."

"While robotics has its roots in the manufacturing sector, we continue to see increasing acceptance and adoption of robots in several other industries, such as resources and transportation," said Jessica Goepfert, program director, Customer Insights & Analysis. "Organizations in these areas are attracted to the promise of greater efficiency and productivity. But they are also turning to robotics to address other concerns such as skills shortages, workplace safety, and keeping up with the accelerating pace of business."

Worldwide drone spending will be $9 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall market with a five-year CAGR of 29.8%. Enterprise drone solutions will deliver more than half of all drone spending throughout the forecast period with the balance coming from consumer drone solutions. Enterprise drones will increase its share of overall spending with a five-year CAGR of 36.6%. The utilities and construction industries will see the largest drone spending in 2018 ($912 million and $824 million, respectively), followed by the process and discrete manufacturing industries. The fastest growth in drone spending will come from the education (74.1% CAGR) and state/local government (70.5% CAGR) industries.

"Drones have become an indispensable tool, especially in industries such as oil and gas, agriculture, and telecommunications. In many instances, drones have helped reduce their employees' exposure to dangerous tasks such as cell tower or electrical grid inspection. Farmers have also utilized drones to help monitor their land for irrigation deficiencies. While there is a growing number of consumer drone enthusiasts, we expect that drones will soon become part of the connected-home providing home security, monitoring children at play, or delivering groceries," said William Stofega, program director, Mobile Device Technology and Trends.

"Drones have become a forefront solution for many tasks and applications that were once deemed too dangerous, dirty, dull, or dear. Technological advancements such as improved sensors, enhancements in collision avoidance systems, or innovations related to full automation or intelligent piloting, have propelled new interest and acknowledgement from many industries that drones are here to stay. Groundbreaking improvements in the technology has piqued interest by industries that operate in open or outdoor space, such as utilities, where inspection-related applications such as transformer substation inspection or power line, foliage, and telephone line inspection are key drivers of the industry. As policies change and governments work with vendors and end users to formulate regulation allowances, new opportunities and expanded use cases will come to light as their benefits are realized across all industries," said Stacey Soohoo, research manager, Customer Insights and Analysis.

China will be the largest geographic market for robotics, delivering more than 30% of all robotics spending throughout the forecast, followed by the rest of Asia/Pacific (excluding China and Japan), the United States, and Japan. The United States will be the largest geographic market for drone spending at $4.3 billion in 2018, followed by Western Europe, China, and the rest of Asia/Pacific (excluding China and Japan). However, exceptionally strong spending growth in China (55.5% CAGR) and Asia/Pacific (excluding China and Japan) (62.0% CAGR) will move these two markets ahead of Western Europe by 2021.

The Worldwide Semiannual Robotics and Drones Spending Guide quantifies the robotics and drone opportunities from a region, industry, use case, and technology perspective. Spending data is available for more than 60 use cases across 20 industries in eight regions. Data is also available for 17 robotics systems technologies and 16 drone systems technologies. Unlike any other research in the industry, the detailed segmentation and timely, global data is designed to help suppliers targeting the market to identify market opportunities and execute an effective strategy.

About IDC Spending Guides

IDC's Spending Guides provide a granular view of key technology markets from a regional, vertical industry, use case, buyer, and technology perspective. The spending guides are delivered via pivot table format or custom query tool, allowing the user to easily extract meaningful information about each market by viewing data trends and relationships.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn.

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For more information, contact:

Jessica Goepfert
jgoepfert@idc.com
508-988-6944

Michael Shirer
press@idc.com
508-935-4200